Why you should invest in your existing staff: keeping current employees happy is key to a successful future

by | 2 Nov, 2020

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Think about the worst job you ever had. What made it so bad? Did you work long hours? Did you work under the thumb of a micromanager? Did your job offer no benefits? Now, consider the best job you’ve ever had. What made it good? Did you feel valued? Autonomous? Were you given flexibility and benefits? Were you working for a cause you believed in? Consider what made you happiest and unhappiest in your previous jobs, what makes people stick in jobs, what makes people feel fulfilled in their roles? For successful companies, finding out what makes employees happy is key for flourishing.

For the happiest employees, Forbes notes that the happiest employees had autonomy, mastery, and purpose: “‘1. Autonomy – the desire to direct our own lives. 2. Mastery – the urge to get better and better at something that matters. 3. Purpose – the yearning to do what we do in the service of something larger than ourselves.'” Others argue that a certain salary level makes people happy like in this BBC article about ‘The boss who put everyone on 70K‘ and increased the stability and happiness of his employee’s lives – they had more babies, could afford to buy homes, could contribute more to their pension funds, got out of debt, and so on. Yet others claim that offering employee benefits are vital to employee happiness in this article, ‘How benefits can help improve employees’ happiness.’ But no matter your approach to keeping your employees happy, it’s vital that you invest in your employees, and here’s why.

Reduce turnover costs 

SHRM’s ‘Talent Acquisition Benchmark Report‘ notes that the average cost per hire is $4,425. The Small Business Chronicle puts that figure even higher: at one-third of the new hire’s starting salary. 

Hiring new talent is expensive. It takes time to write the job listing, to comb through CVs, to narrow down candidates, to interview, to negotiate pay and benefit, to train an employee, and so forth. For every person you hire, you’re already making a considerable investment in them before they invest in you. 

One major reason you want to keep your employees happy is that you want to reduce your company’s turnover costs and keep retention rates high. Reduced turnover also keeps those who stick it out happier too because if people keep jumping ship, they’ll wonder why – does that person know something we don’t? Is the company in trouble? Plus, if your company has customer-facing or business-development roles, your customers or clients may get irritated if they have to keep dealing with a new staff member every time they need to contact you. For most companies, the longer you retain your employees and keep them happy, the better for your business.

Keep knowledge capital in the company

Investopedia defines knowledge capital as ‘Knowledge capital is anything of value that results from people’s experience, skills, knowledge, and learning within an organization. This capital has immeasurable value and cannot be quantified. As such, it gives a company a competitive advantage over its rivals.’ When employees have worked for you for several months to several years, they gain invaluable and immeasurable knowledge capital. 

Since knowledge capital is intangible, you don’t ever want to get to a point where you lose an employee only to realize that they had some specialized knowledge of a vital system in your business. Many companies spend hours ensuring they don’t have failing points when employees are absent or leave but the best way to ensure that your company’s vital information stays within its figurative walls is to keep your essential employees happy in the workplace. The article notes, ‘Human capital can disappear when an employee leaves so quality organizations are ones that focus on retaining creative and innovative workers, as well as work toward creating a setting where such intelligence can be taught and learned.’ It notes that human capital is potentially fleeting if not cared for! Understand and meet your employees’ needs so they can meet yours.

Offer competitive benefits

One way to keep employees invested in you is by offering competitive benefits. Those benefits can be anything from health insurance plans to Employee Assistance Programs to counseling sessions to caregiving benefits to employee resource groups (ERGs) to free fruit! Some companies have the privilege of offering ‘unreal’ benefits like free vacations, large donations to charities, unlimited holidays, free drinks, games rooms, and more. But many employees are simply happy with smaller benefits packages as long as they feel valued and autonomous. 

Benefits that don’t cost the company much include remote work, flexible work, discounted gym membership, employee cycle programs, special interest clubs, daily yoga, early-finish Fridays, reducing work hours for full pay (studies show there’s higher productivity), and just allowing employees to have work-life balance.

For ideas on benefits to offer at your workplace, check out our pieces below.

Whether your company benefits are just being introduced, each company can offer some benefits that keep employees happy. 

Foster employee loyalty

Generally, when you show employees that you care about their well-being, you will foster employee loyalty. When you provide a workplace where their work is valued, acknowledged, and they feel like they do a good job, that will be reward enough for many. But you can take that further with fair compensation, benefits, and flexible working. When you create a workplace where people feel their work is meaningful, appreciated, and they are happy to come to work, you facilitate an environment that will give back as much as you put in. When you show your employees that you value them, they will show you that they value you. Often, they’ll reward you with excellent work and long service. 

But the best way to find out what your employees want is to discuss their needs with them. Every company, no matter how big or small or your annual turnover can offer something of value to your employees for their service and you will find that when you increase your investment in your employees, then your business will grow.

You may feel that people are replaceable and you can always hire someone new with a similar skill set but you may find that nurturing the employees you have is your best bet! 

How Navigate PEO can help

Investing in your current staff and keeping your employees happy is the key to a successful future. Every quality hire is a valuable part of your business. 

If you haven’t started offering benefits to your employees, Navigate PEO can get you started. We help small and medium-sized companies afford to offer competitive benefits to employees such as major medical plans, life insurance, dental and vision insurance, EAPs, and more as well as helping your business manage those benefits, keeping track of compliance documents and helping your HR department run smoothly. Take a look at our HR Services page to see what we offer.

Get in touch to see what we can do for your organization today.

Tom DiSilva
Tom DiSilva has been providing professional human resource services for over 30 years. As the CEO of Navigate PEO, he actively partners with organizations of all sizes in the Greater New England area and across the country to help their businesses grow. He has expertise in HR and Labor Management, offering guidance and support for key areas of business such as negotiations, operations management, employee coaching, and employee benefits design. He is an active member of The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), The National Association of Professional Employer Organizations (NAPEO), Professional Association of Co-Employers (PACE), and The American Payroll Association (APA). He is deeply committed to giving back to the community both personally and through Navigate Cares, which provides support for several nonprofit organizations such as the USO, The Boys & Girls Club, and the 3Point Foundation.

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Disclaimer: this article does not represent expert advice and is provided for informational purposes. Please get in touch if you would like expert HR advice.